Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sing for me

“Sing for me,” he whispered, his fingers stroking her hair, as he leaned on his elbow above her. So she sang for him again. Once more, she sang, her wordless song… knowing in some corner of her being that it was the last time… she sang her song of life, and of beauty… and in her song was the magic that lives in the first words spoken by a lover at dawn… the thrill of a child whispering secrets to her doll … the wonder of a fairy tale … the softness of a kitten’s tummy, or a puppy’s wet nose… the soft spell of moonlight… the stillness in the reflection of the waning moon… the softness and depths of a mother’s eyes… the worlds that are revealed in a child’s eyes in the moment between imagination and attention… the unusual shade of new life on a dying tree… the hue of a peacock’s wings… the wind in your hair … the powdery scales that rub off on your hands, no matter how carefully you try to hold the butterfly you’ve caught… the warm comfort of a hug… the smell of wet grass… the sound of drums… the glitter of stars in the night sky… the warm purring of a comfortable cat on your lap… the thrill of anticipation before you dive… the swish of long hair… a soft clear note, floating by in the breeze… the taste of chocolate… the muted colours of dawn… the luxury of time to spare… the cry of an infant… the whispering of waves ……… she sang for him. And something stirred in him. Pity… or something deeper. But beyond her, he could see the harbour… and the ship coming in to dock… he had to leave. He looked at her once more… and to him, her unhealthy white pallor, and sickly brown hair became slowly enchanting and somehow ethereal. Her ungainly skinny arms and legs ceased to repulse him… she was a fairy on a wisp of wind… yes, an insubstantial figment of his dreams carried away on an enchanting zephyr… for a moment, he considered staying where he was… but then he looked back at the ship, and rose regretfully. She stared after him… he would come back. She knew it. She believed it. Once again, she began to sing, softly… to herself.

Safira’s song flew, and her face changed, reflecting the clear notes she sang. Her eyes were shut, yet she was aware of his shifting stare, this healthy stranger from the warmer lands. His skin was a strong healthy colour, she envied. Not like her drab ugly pale white skin, and his features strong and rugged… But despite her comparative frail appearance, it was she who had saved him from the sea… she who had dragged him to the safety of her secret cave… where they had left her as a child, and where she waited patiently and trustingly for them to return… When she had dragged him in, he had looked like a lifeless thing… but as she sang to him, he had woken to her song, and stared in wonder. When at last she stopped singing, he had spoken… and like distant echoes from the past she had heard words whose meaning she had once known, before learning the language of nature… Some of the words she understood, and some she guessed… until finally he had made her understand that his ship had been heading for the island when they had encountered the storm. He had fallen off the deck as the ship lurched. The ship would reach the island by morning, and he would leave without troubling her further. She shrank at the thought of morning… those glaring lights, that hurt her sensitive eyes and burnt her skin! But he seemed to be looking forward to it…… She had tried to make him as comfortable as possible, picking out the choicest and best fruits and roots for him to eat, bringing him the sweetest water she could find… but he seemed to find some thing lacking in her company. Except when she sang for him. Outside, merciless time flew by, and an orange tinge appeared in the far east of the sky, over the distant ocean. A shaft of light burst through the thick morning mist, bringing with it a glorious riot of colour. The emerging green of the coastal moss on its damp rocks brightened as the tide receded… the white foam of the waves whispered softly…… but light had not yet reached the huge grey cave where they sheltered. She sang now, not wanting to end her song, for when she sang, he seemed to be at his most content, and did not seem to want to leave… and she had longed for human company for so long that she did not want it to be morning… As she sang, his eyes moved over her, and she smiled slightly, knowing he had forgotten everything but her, and her voice… but slowly, her voice faltered, and her eyes opened. He was staring at her, a strange look in his eyes. She shivered, though she was not cold, and her voice faltered over the notes she knew so well. He leaned close… her voice caught in her throat… and then stopped all together. His lips met hers, and for some reason, her heart thumped wildly, and her eyes closed. They pressed against hers, and gently pushed them apart… his fingers were warm and strong on her face… she felt like jelly- light and insubstantial. He pressed her close to him, as though to mould her to him, and his hands strayed lower… Later, as the thumping of her heart slowed, and the dull ache between her legs began to fade, she looked up at his face and smiled. He smiled back, down at her as he played with her hair, entwining it with his fingers. She sighed in contentment, and closed her eyes. “Sing for me,” he whispered, his fingers stroking her hair as he leaned on his elbow above her.

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